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Jobs of the future: the e-sports sector is a game changer

Jobs opportunities in the e-sports and gaming industry are growing fast

E=sports and gaming League of Legends
Students interested in e-sports have a higher tendency to be academic achievers in fields valued by employers

The workplace today is far different from how it was a decade ago and will continue to change even more rapidly as new skills are needed and acquired.

How do we prepare not only the next generation, but our own generation, if over 50 percent of jobs have not yet even been invented? Specifically, what skillsets will be valued?

Enter the world of gaming and e-sports. The total number of jobs in the e-sports industry grew by 87 percent year-on-year to reach 11,000 in 2019, according to a job industry report released by Hitmarker, one of the global leaders in e-sports recruitment. 

Business development roles are projected to become the fastest-growing sector within e-sports jobs, with Singapore set to displace either Canada or Germany as one of the five leading countries in e-sports recruitment. 

E-sports revenue is predicted to grow even more each year. Imagine how many more jobs will be created. This future employment boom makes it important to implement e-sports into education. 

Students who are interested in e-sports have a higher tendency to be academic achievers and interested in high-paying science, technology, engineering and maths fields valued by employers.

In traditional sports, business opportunities abound in media, merchandise sales, sponsorships, player endorsements, team value, and mega-events.

From this model, e-sports now offer similar business opportunities to entrepreneurs to create their own niche in the industry. 

Even athletes in traditional sports have pursued opportunities in e-sports. Former Los Angeles Lakers star Rick Fox has become an advocate for e-sports and for the opportunities in the industry.

As a gamer and e-sports franchise owner, Fox is changing the game by making e-sports business ventures more mainstream. 

Meanwhile, prominent professional sport owners like Robert Kraft and Fred and Jeff Wilpon have seen the financial value of e-sports from fan engagement to competitions and have invested in (or own) e-sports franchises. 

And famous sport venues, such as Barclay’s Center and Madison Square Garden in New York City and the Staples Center in Los Angeles, are selling e-sports competitions to capacity.

Kate Edwards is Microsoft’s first geopolitical strategist. She holds a geography PhD, and said: “What I would come to realise, many years later, is that geographers make for excellent world-builders, because we spend so much of our time deconstructing the ‘real world’.

“We strive for a deep understanding of how global systems interact and affect one another — from the physical environment (climatology, plate tectonics, biospheres) to the human environment (geopolitics, economics, cultures, languages). 

“Working on video games is actually how I finally found my confluence. Everything I valued — new technologies, leveraging the imagination, world-building, and creative collaboration — I discovered in the game space.”

Critical thinking and team building

Think about the cognitive process of what is happening when people play games. It’s a case of hands on, minds on. Interactivity puts players in control of the action.

In other words, they learn by doing. Gameplay experience also combines a broad mix of problem-solving, decision-making, intuitive learning, trial and error, logistics, analysis, management, communication, risk-taking, planning, resource management, and computational thinking.

Games stimulate the imagination and encourage creativity, curiosity, social skills, concentration, teamwork, community, multitasking, and hand-eye co-ordination. 

Games also give players continuous assessment and allow failure in a safe environment. Simulation games, for example, are used as a training tool for pilots, surgeons, the armed forces, and other professionals. 

Team-based video games allow players to use leadership skills when planning and executing strategies, which will be critical in their professional careers.

Just like being the captain of a football team or the branch manager at a major company, leaders on e-sports teams have an obligation to lead their squad into victory.

These responsibilities are similar to those of any sports team leader, and the skills learned through gaming leadership can be used later in the students’ professional and personal lives. 

E-sports are an education game changer. With the rise of scholastic e-sports, educators now have a unique opportunity to validate their students’ interests, support their social-emotional learning, and connect them with future workforce aspirations.

Working in the e-sports community allows multi-generations to stay connected. Boomers and young people alike have so much to gain from the e-sports space.

Whether you have been a lifelong gamer and are eager to work e-sports, or even if you have never picked up a controller before, e-sports is a community and lifestyle of the future.

Dubai-based Lucy Chow is the secretary general of the World Business Angels Investment Forum (WBAF) and general partner of the WBAF Angel Investment Fund. This column was extracted from her recently published book, Changing the Game

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